Acorn Media Group, a leading independent media company, has acquired a 64% stake in Agatha Christie Limited from Chorion, an international media production company that owns the rights to the Agatha Christie Estate.
Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and died in 1976. She wrote the biggest selling mystery novel of all time “And Then There Were None” along with “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile.” Christie sells more than 3 million books per year worldwide, and Chorion originally purchased the majority of the Agatha Christie estate in 1998. The Agatha Christie Estate includes more than 80 novels/plays and nearly 40 TV films. Christie has sold more than 2 billion books. Her works only follow The Bible and William Shakespeare as the most widely published books, and they continue to be adapted into internationally successful films. Thanks to this acquisition, Acorn Media now has majority ownership of the estate, including Christie’s iconic characters such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The Christie family retains its 36% holding and Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, remains Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited.
“This development, along with our purchase of ‘Foyle’s War’ in 2010 and last year’s launch of Acorn TV, the first British TV-focused streaming service, signal the new prominence of Acorn Media Group as the most forward looking distributor of British television in North America,” said Miguel Penella, CEO of Acorn Media. “We see this acquisition as a key step in the company’s continued evolution into content ownership and television production, and look forward to working with the Agatha Christie family for years to come.”
“My family and I are delighted to be forming a new partnership with Acorn Media, which I’m sure will continue the succesful history of the company, and produce much more Agatha Christie material for fans everywhere, particularly in the U.S.,” Mathew Prichard stated. “I remain grateful to my colleagues at Chorion for nearly 13 years of fruitful partnership.”
Acorn Media has been releasing TV movie adaptations featuring Christie’s two most famous characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, on VHS, DVD, and now, digitally since 2001. Both series rank among the company’s best-selling series of all time. ITV recently commissioned new episodes of Poirot and Marple. The eight television films will start production in summer 2012 and broadcast beginning in 2013 on ITV and PBS. Feature film adaptations are also in development with these characters.
Based in Washington D.C. and founded by Chairman Peter Edwards, Acorn Media Group has grown from a one-man basement documentary production and distribution operation in the mid-1980s into a leading independent media company operating on three continents. The Acorn Media Group consists of four divisions. With its Acorn label, Acorn Media U.S. is the leading distributor of British television programming to consumers in North America. Appealing to the growing lifelong learning audience, Acorn U.S. also offers acclaimed documentaries on the Athena label. Acorn Direct is a direct-to-consumer division offering DVDs, digital downloads, and other high quality products in North America through its Acorn and Acacia catalogs and e-commerce websites.
On March 6th, Acorn Media will be presenting the newly remastered and restored “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 3″ on Blu-Ray and DVD. The series originally aired in the U.K. in 1989 and in the U.S. in 1991. This 3-disc collection includes all 11 mysteries from Series 3 with one of Christie’s most famous characters, Hercule Poirot.
Acorn Media has also been busy with several DVD and Blu-ray releases. Acorn Media has re-released the 1979 spy miniseries “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” on DVD and its sequel “Smiley’s People.” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” was nominated for an Emmy for best miniseries and won two BAFTA Awards. Also available on DVD and Blu-Ray is “George Gently, Series 1″, Single-Handed”, “Robin of Sherwood”, “I, Claudius” and more. You can visit their online store to learn more about the series available for purchase.
Additionally, Acorn TV offers a full season of 10 critically acclaimed, classic and contemporary British series to watch online, including “Monroe”, “A Woman of Substance”, “Wish Me Luck”, “Murdoch Mysteries”, “Doc Martin”, “The Commander”, “Midsomer Murders”, “Rosemary & Thyme”, “Slings & Arrows” and “Agatha Christie’s Poirot.” You can visit the website to learn more about the shows that are streaming.